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Breastfeeding

Revised: Tuesday December 23 2014

Breastfeeding in the First Weeks

Breastfeeding positions

See Breastfeeding Video ‘Breastfeeding Positions’

Baby's position:

Try different positions when you are breastfeeding your baby. Find a position that is comfortable and suits you and your baby. Whatever breastfeeding position you use, placing your baby skin-to-skin will help get breastfeeding off to a better start.

  • Your baby's mouth should face your breast. Avoid having your baby on his back, or twisting and turning his head towards you.
  • Your baby's ear, shoulder and hip should be in a straight line.

A comfortable position is one that is pain-free and relaxed. Experiment until you find a good position that works for you and continue experimenting as your baby grows.

Common breastfeeding positions:

The following images show different breastfeeding positions you may want to try. You can expand each image by rolling your mouse over the image.

Laid-Back Nursing


Laid-Back Nursing - Over your shoulder
Laid-Back Nursing - Supported at your side
Laid-Back Nursing - Across your breasts
Laid-Back Nursing - Below your breats


Source: Reprinted with permission by Nancy Mohrbacher (Images by Anna Mohrbacher)
(Mohrbacher, 2010) www.nancymohrbacher.com

  1. Lean back and get comfortable with good arm and body support
  2. Place baby tummy down on your body so gravity keeps him in close contact
  3. Your body supports baby. Use pillows to support your body.
  4. Baby lies on your chest at any angle. Gravity helps keep him in close.
    • Baby finds nipple by rooting
    • The touch of his chin on the breast stimulates him to open his mouth wide
    • Baby then drops his tongue and extends it as he takes the breast and begins to suckle

These are natural positions for baby to latch as most babies are tummy feeders.

Cross cradle hold

Cross cradle hold
  1. Sit upright with your back and arms well supported with pillows.

  2. Support your baby at the base of his head and neck using the arm opposite to the breast that will be used.  Also support the baby's back and buttocks with your forearm.  Your baby's ear, shoulder and hip should be in a straight line with his stomach touching your stomach.

  3. Support your breast with the other hand using a 'C' hold -place your fingers below your breast and your thumb above your breast staying well back from the areola (the brown area).  Hold your breast gently taking care not to squeeze.

This position works well for small babies but it may feel awkward for some women.

Football hold

Football hold
  1. Sit upright with your back and arms well supported with pillows.

  2. Place your baby on a pillow beside you. Turn your baby on her side so that her ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line.  Her stomach should be touching your side.

  3. Support your baby's head and neck with your hand while also supporting her back with your forearm.

  4. Use a 'C' hold to support your breast with the opposite hand.

This position works well for small babies and for women with large breasts.


It may also be comfortable for mothers who have had a c-section.

Cradle hold

Cradle hold
  1. Sit upright with your back and arms supported with pillows.

  2. Turn your baby on his side so that his ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line and his stomach is touching your stomach.

  3. Support your baby's head and neck in the crook of your arm on the same side as the breast to be used. Use your forearm to pull your baby close to you and support his buttocks with your hand.

  4. Use a 'C' hold to support your breast with the opposite hand.

This position is the most familiar but it is best used by mothers who are experienced with breastfeeding. It may be difficult for new mothers to learn how to get the baby well latched in this position.


Side-lying hold

side-lying hold
  1. Lie on the same side as the breast to be used with a pillow under your head and one behind your back.

  2. Place your baby on her side facing you. You may need to put a pillow behind your baby's back to help keep her close to you.

  3. Support your breast using a 'C' hold with your opposite hand if needed. Older babies will move toward the breast and latch with minimal assistance. If you do not need to support your breast, you can use your opposite arm and hand to hold your baby close to you.

This position is more difficult with early breastfeeding when mother and baby are both learning how to latch.


C-hold

C - hold








Breastfeeding multiple babies


Make an Informed Decision | Breastfeeding in the First Weeks | Six Weeks to Six Months
Six Months and Beyond | Your Questions Answered | Breastfeeding Resources | Contact Us

Revised: Tuesday December 23 2014

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